Treadmill Buying Guide

The Ultimate Treadmill Buying Guide:

Whether it’s part of a new commitment to fitness, an upgrade from a previous model or you simply want to improve your cardiovascular health, a treadmill can help you reach your goals.

Purchasing a treadmill is an investment in your health and fitness routine. If properly maintained, a good quality treadmill will last you a long time. It is important to choose the right treadmill so that the treadmill doesn’t die on you within 1-2 years, and so you don’t regret your purchase after only a few months. So, we have compiled the ultimate guide for first time treadmill buyers. Hopefully, this will give you an understanding and knowledge of how a treadmill works and make you aware of what some important features are.

1. Budget

How much are you planning to spend? This is the most basic way to narrow down your search, and based on the price range, you will quickly see what features you can get, and if you want to adjust your budget accordingly. Nowadays, you can get high quality treadmills at mid- to higher-range price points that give you affordable quality and nice features at every level.

2. The intended use & goals

A treadmill is a mechanical piece of equipment that consists of four key components: the motor, the running deck, the running belt and the rollers the belt runs around. As we all know, everything has a life span based on use and that includes treadmill components, of course. In another words, quality also plays a huge role here – that explains why some treadmills are better and last longer than others.

The first thing you should take into consideration is the intended use. This includes the frequency of use, the type of use (running or walking), and the number of people that will use the treadmill. This will help narrow down the type of treadmill to purchase. If you plan to run on it frequently, perhaps everyday or every other day, then going with a higher quality unit with more powerful motor and a longer warranty is a no-brainer. Look at the durability and the frame construction. On the other hand, if you will be using it mostly for walking, or if you plan to run on it once 1-2 times per week for 15 mins per session, then going with a less expensive treadmill (Under $1000) will be a more ideal option. Also, consider the weight of the user(s).

The same theory applies to multiple users. If you have a few family members in your household and everyone plans to use it, go with a higher quality treadmill and brands like AFG and BH Fitness. Some treadmills offer user profiles, stat tracking and multiple program options, making it more versatile and convenient for multiple users. With more users, you will need a longer warranty – so its definitely something you should keep in mind. Lets move on.

3. Placement of the treadmill

There are two types of treadmills; Folding and standard (also known as conventional). A folding treadmill is an ideal option if you have limited space because one can fold it up when it’s not in use. How does it work? It’s no secret; The folding treadmill typically folds at the point where the base and handrails attach. The higher end folding treadmills have something call the hydraulic shock, which makes it much easier to either lower or raise the treadmill.

On the other hand, standard treadmill cannot be fold hence, they take a little more space. It is ideal for users who use it frequently, and do offer a little more stability. If you plan to watch tv, listen to music or read during your treadmill workout, we highly recommend buying a treadmill with a more powerful motor because they run quietly. In addition, don’t forget to leave some space at the back end of your treadmill so you can get on it easily! Believe it or not, this is a very common issue.

4. Programs and features to consider

Different models usually come with different features, and that is where different prices come in play also. Some hot and must-have features nowadays include built in iPod dock, built-in USB port, audio-in jack, heart rate monitor compatibility, LED display and most of all; a virtual tour – for more information on this, see AFG 7.1AT treadmill reviews.

Programming is also something very important and should be taken into consideration before selecting your treadmill. Most treadmills nowadays offer a wide range of workout program options. Some examples are: interval programs for weight loss, simulation programs that imitate being outdoors, stamina builder, custom programs and much more. As mentioned, different models have different features and programs, they might named differently depending on the brand and manufacturer.

Also, you might want to consider a treadmill with power-incline. Combined with the various programs, this will allow for enough variety to keep your workouts fun and challenging.

5. Treadmill components

Last by not least, we must consider treadmill components. As mentioned in step 1, the quality of treadmill components also play a huge role in determining the prices of each treadmill model. There are currently two types of frames, steel and aluminum. Steel offers a more rigid design, while aluminum is more flexible. There are one ply belts on the low end, or multi-ply orthopedic belts at the high end. As you go up in value the running belts are often wider and longer, making it easier to run without looking at your feet. Having space on a treadmill is key to prevent injuries, especially if you are running. A lower-end running deck typically requires lubrication every 30-60 hours of use. In comparison, the higher-end running decks are wax impregnated, making them low-maintenance, and in some cases, maintenance free.

Lower-priced treadmills have small-diameter rollers that heat up and wear out quicker than treadmills with large rollers. High-quality treadmills have large-diameter rollers that are better at dissipating heat, thus extending the life of your belt and rollers. These larger diameter rollers are also crowned – meaning you will not have to adjust your belt very often, as these rollers keep your running belt centered. Low-end treadmills typically use small motors. They need to work very hard to match the capacity of a larger motor, and often become quite loud. A higher-priced treadmill will use a stronger, quieter motor that lasts longer because it doesn’t need to work nearly as hard as a small motor.

Warranty is another key point to consider when purchasing a treadmill. Higher-priced treadmills will have a longer parts warranty than their lesser-priced counterparts, and some brands will even include a wear & tear warranty. Just looking at the length of the manufacturer’s warranty will the level of confidence the brand has in their product, and help you establish the quality of the machine.

Suspension of the deck is a very popular feature, especially for runners or users with “bad” knees, hips, or ankles. Good suspension will reduce the shock your body and your machine takes.

One last word of advice: Try it on for size! The feel of the treadmill is extremely important, and you’ll want to go for a test run in the showroom. Bring your runners with you to make sure the treadmill will withstand the intensity of your workout, provide the right amount of shock absorption, and give you the amount of space you need to comfortably walk, jog or run.


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